At YMUN, each delegate will take part in a simulation of the United Nations or another international body and gain better insight into the subtleties of international affairs.

The wide range of YMUN committees will address pressing issues of global importance and provide original, compelling, and pertinent topics to suit each student’s interests. YMUN has five types of committees: General Assembly (GA), Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), Regional Bodies, Specialized Committees, and Crisis. Click each committee below to read more about the topic areas our Chairs have planned for YMUN XLV. 


Featured Committees

YMUN XLV Committee Previews  

General Assemblies

The General Assembly committees are the largest of YMUN and some of the most intense. This year's committees will be unprecedented in their scope and substance. In addition to requiring research from delegates, these committees will be the ultimate test of delegates' ability to share their ideas and work with other delegates. To ensure the best experience for delegates, GA committees will have a maximum of 100 delegates.

+ historical General Assembly (HGA)

Chairs: Aldo Quevedo & Mbella Beseka

Topic 1: UN Response to the 1979 Nicaraguan Revolution

Topic 2: UN Response to Repression in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Uruguay (1980s Post-operation Condor)

This session of the Historical General Assembly will adhere to a regional focus in Central and South Americas. Since the early sixteenth-century, Latin America has endured under the overwhelming weight of European colonialism and subsequent Western imperialism. The year is 1981; the General Assembly of the United Nations will be meeting to discuss two topics associated with what many around the globe refer to as “Operation Condor” – a set of foreign interventionist policies that were designed to modify the political makeup of several countries during the period between the 1970s and 80s. Topic A will focus on the revolution a year before in Nicaragua, dubbed the “Sandinista Revolution”. Topic B will encompass the wave of repressive governments appearing in Argentina, Brazil, and other Southern American countries during this time period. Identifying the actors, their motivations, and finding a clear, yet measured response will be the goals of every nation represented in this session.

+ United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)

Chairs: Ziad Ahmed, Kyung Mi Lee, & Simon Cooper

Topic 1: Rohingya Displacement

There has been an ongoing crisis in the Rakhine State of Myanmar as the Myanmarese Government and many of its citizens continues to persecute the Rohingya minority (native to the Rakhine State). Prior to the crisis, many Rohingya lived abroad, now their diaspora has grown to include more than two million Rohingya worldwide -- over 500,000 of which officially fleeing from violence seeking refugee status. A plurality of recent refugees are now in Bangladesh, a neighboring country without adequate resources to support this population long-term. According to widely accepted and UN-ratified definitions of genocide, the Myanmarese government’s actions against the Rohingya constitute genocide. Thus far, only human rights advocates have unequivocally referred to the crisis as a genocide given the violence/brutality projected against the Rohingya based on their race and religious status -- to the extent that they are not even considered citizens of Myanmar (making them perpetually internally displaced and subject to extreme persecution). This is one of the most severe human rights crises of our time -- and countries worldwide must come together to come up with innovative/necessary solutions.

+ Economic and Financial Council (ECOFIN)

Chairs: Calvin Jahnke & George Tang

Topic 1: Cryptocurrency and Government Regulation

Topic 2: Development Economics and the Global Poverty Trap

The Economic and Financial Committee (ECOFIN) of the United Nations handles issues from macroeconomics to international cooperation, and works closely with institutions such as the UN Development Programme (UNDP), World Food Programme (WFP), and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). As one of the major committees of the General Assembly, Article 13 of the UN Charter mandates that ECOFIN: “[promote] international co-operation in the political field ... [and promote] international co-operation in the economic, social, cultural, educational, and health fields” through debate and draft resolutions discussing international economics. This year at YMUN, ECOFIN will focus on 1) the poverty trap within developing countries and the responsibility of developed countries to bring countries out of poverty and 2) the emergence and subsequent possible regulation and of cryptocurrencies.

+ Special Political and Decolonization Committee (SPECPOL)

Chairs: Jacob Malinowski & Rene Olivarez

Topic 1: Disputes in the Arctic Circle

Topic 2: Oceans, Deep Water, and Trenches: An International Ambiguity of Sovereignty

The Special Political and Decolonization Committee (SPECPOL) at YMUN 45 will cover two broad topics. First, we will discuss issues regarding the Arctic Circle, including the effects of climate change, enhanced militarization, and territorial disagreements. Our next topic will cover deep waters. This includes oceans, deep seas, and trenches. Expect to discuss overfishing, disaster response, and nautical sovereignty. Delegates are encouraged to introduce other areas which fall under the domains of either the Arctic or Deep Waters.

+ Disarmament and International Security Committee (DISEC)

Chairs: Paul Banegura & Timothy Ryan

Topic 1: Restrictions and regulations on humanitarian aid

Topic 2: Transnational organized crime, drugs, and violence

The First Committee of the United Nations General Assembly (GA), Disarmament and International Security (DISEC), is tasked with addressing global challenges and threats to peace that affect the international community. As a part of the GA, DISEC has representatives from all member states of the United Nations. Its mandate, as outlined in Article 13 of the UN Charter, is to “initiate studies and make recommendations for the purpose of promoting international cooperation in the political field and encouraging the progressive development of international law and its codification."

At its first session in 1946, the First Committee convened to discuss the development of nuclear capabilities around the world given the use of the atomic bomb against Japan at the end of World War II. Still relevant to the modern day, DISEC strives to reduce the existence of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) as well as restrict the development, sale, and stockpiling of small arms while promoting general world peace. As a result, DISEC has played an integral role in achieving many political milestones and astounding resolutions throughout the past three and a half score of human history. The First Committee was key to opening a dialogue between the Soviet Union and the Western world throughout the second half of the Twentieth Century in order to alleviate Cold War tensions. At the Sixty-Fourth Session of the General Assembly in 2009-2010, the First Committee convened to pass forty-eight resolutions, namely pertaining to the transparency of military expenditures, combating the illicit trade of small arms and light weapons, and the prevention of an arms race in space, reaffirming the committee’s critical role in the modern day. The committee as of late has served to proffer united efforts to combat desertification, human trafficking, and cyber warfare. Our topics for YMUN 45 will pertain to 1) debating restrictions and regulations on humanitarian aid and 2) transnational organized crime, drugs, and violence.

+ Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Committee (SOCHUM)

Chairs: Jason Hu & Sarina Xu

Topic 1: Responding to Mental Health Crisis

Topic 2: Youth Development

Disorders of the mind contribute to an increasingly large percentage of the total burden of disease in the world, despite being an overlooked area of human health. When examining the ubiquity of those affected by the mental health crisis, oftentimes people who reside in developing states feel most affected by the lack of accessibility to treatment. This treatment gap comes from an ingrained stigma that prevents people of all ages and background to seek the essential solutions necessary. It's important to understand that mental health is a vital part of complete well-being, and SOCHUM must discuss methods that can close the mental health treatment gap.

+ International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)

Chair: Ken Tanaka & Heather Foster

Our committee is the IAEA, or the International Atomic Energy Agency. While this organization is separate from the UN, it does work heavily with the Security Council and reports to both the Security Council as well as the UN General Assembly. The three main pillars of the IAEA are Safety and Security, Science and Technology, and Safeguards and Verification. Currently, the IAEA's roles include inspecting nuclear facilities to ensure that they are being used for peaceful means , acting as a place where information regarding nuclear sciences can be exchanged, working to make sure that nuclear facilities are safe and secure, and implementing safeguards to ensure that nuclear energy cannot be weaponized. Headquartered in Vienna, Austria, the IAEA has three main bodies: the Board of Governors, the General Conference, and the Secretariat. The General Conference is where all of the member states convene to approve the IAEA’s budget and decide on the most pressing issues facing the IAEA. The IAEA is made up of all countries in the UN General Assembly except North Korea, which withdrew from the IAEA General Conference in 1994. Furthermore, Cabo Verde, Comoros, Saint Lucia, the Gambia, and Tonga were approved for membership by the General Conference but have yet to officially join because they have not yet submitted the necessary legal documents to the IAEA. Our topics this year will be (1) North Korean denuclearization and (2) nuclear energy and its impacts on economic growth, human welfare, and environmental sustainability.

+ United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)

Chairs: Lauren Radigan & Max Ackerman

Topic 1: Restoration of Coastal Ecosystems

Topic 2: Sustainable Population Growth

In this committee, we will cover two main topics: Restoration of coastal ecosystems focusing on pollution and endangered species, and global overpopulation and the development of plans on how to deal with it ethically while staying environmentally responsible. In regards to coastal restoration, we will discuss ways of limiting pollution within coastal areas, as well as ways of preserving the current state of coastal ecosystems while retaining populations of species that human made pollution has affected. An example would be coral reef bleaching. In regards to overpopulation, we will discuss ways that we can prevent population booms in developing areas, as well as environmentally friendly tactics to deal with overpopulation. An example of this would be how to provide sustainable agriculture to supply a growing world population.

Economic and Social Councils

The ECOSOCs are mid-sized committees (maximum 80 delegates) that offer a middle ground between the intimate, intense settings of the smaller committees and the diverse, dynamic nature of larger committees. This year, we are featuring many new ECOSOC committees that broaden the range of issues to involve human rights protections, scientific advancement, criminal justice and economic development. Delegates will challenge each other to think deeply about resolving not only global concerns, but also individual nations’ roles in an increasingly global world.

This year, we are introducing a brand new NGO Programme under ECOSOC. In this committee, experienced delegates will be representatives of non-governmental organizations instead of countries. Find out more and apply here.

+ United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR)

Chairs: Sam Cummings & Aman Kabeer

Topic 1: Rising Sea Levels

Global shifts in weather patterns and rising temperatures have played a large role in rising water levels. Climate change has the potential to be one of the greatest environmental disaster-causing challenges that the modern world has yet to deal with. The UNISDR will delve into the effects that this will have on coastal communities throughout the world and the necessary population shifts and evacuations and infrastructural expansion, among others, that may be necessary. Secondly, given the recent disruption and devastation caused by volcanic activity in Hawaii, Guatemala, and elsewhere, as well as the widely reported hypothesis that volcanic activity increases with decreasing levels of ice coverage, the UNISDR should expect to face more and more disaster situations related to volcanic eruptions in the future. Despite current accounts that the last few years have not in fact seen increased volcanic activity, the world must always be prepared should the studies reporting that increased global warming leads to increased activity come true. This council will address country-by-country policy proposals for dealing with volcanic disasters, as well as proposals for larger regions that share coincident impact from volcanoes close to their borders.

Topic 2: Volcanic Activity

Given the recent disruption and devastation caused by volcanic activity in Hawaii, Guatemala, and elsewhere, as well as the widely reported hypothesis that volcanic activity increases with decreasing levels of ice coverage, the UNISDR should expect to face more and more disaster situations related to volcanic eruptions in the future. Despite current accounts that the last few years have not in fact seen increased volcanic activity, the world must always be prepared should the studies reporting that increased global warming leads to increased activity come true. This council will address country-by-country policy proposals for dealing with volcanic disasters, as well as proposals for larger regions that share coincident impact from volcanoes close to their borders.

+ Commission on the Status of Women (CSW)

Chairs: Abby Mintz & Juliana Viola

Topic 1: Prevention of Sexual Violence Against Women

Topic 2: Women's Political Leadership and Participation

The Commission on the Status of Women seeks to address two topics: Prevention of Sexual Violence Against Women and Women's Political Leadership and Participation. Though these issues disproportionately impact women, the oppression of women negatively affects all members of society regardless of gender.

Sadly, though perhaps unsurprisingly, 35% of women globally have experienced physical or sexual violence, according to a 2015 report by the World Health Organization. Violence against women has devastating consequences on both micro and macro levels. It poses threats to a woman’s physical and mental health, in turn impacting her ability to safely and meaningfully contribute to her community socially, economically, and politically. When international patterns of violence limit women’s participation in society, the repercussions are grave – healthcare spending rises while productivity and development rates plummet. In the midst of cultural backlash against sexual violence from movements like Times Up and Me Too, it is vital that we consider effective policies to mitigate harm from sexual violence and to ultimately prevent future violence and build safer communities.

Even though progress has been made in recent years to increase political participation among women, women are still vastly underrepresented in politics and government on all scales. As of June 2016, only 22.8% of all national parliamentarians were women. There are many factors that contribute to this discrepancy between representation and constituency. Aside from the blatant restrictions imposed by many nations preventing women from holding political office, there remain prevalent societal and economic hurdles that discourage women from participating in government. Considering the impact that political leaders can have on issues vital to women, and the inspiration that female leaders can provide to other marginalized women, closing this representation gap is of the utmost importance. Previously proposed solutions include imposing quotas, passing inclusive legislation, and forming coalitions of women leaders.

+ World Health Organization (WHO)

Chairs: Kishore Chundi & Margo Williams

Topic 1: Rise in Global Childhood Obesity

Topic 2: Ebola Outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

The WHO has had an accomplished history, having successfully addressed health issues across the globe several times throughout the 20th and 21st century. Nevertheless, much remains to be done. In this committee, we hope to solve pressing global health concerns so as to make the world a healthier and safer place for all its inhabitants. Our first topic is the rise in global childhood obesity. Children who are obese are likely to be obese as adults, which diminishes lifespan and quality of life. Rates of obesity are rising in the developing as well as the developed world, making childhood obesity a truly global issue. In committee, we hope to find solutions that are flexible and take into account the varied culinary and cultural traditions across the globe. Our second topic is the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Ebola is a deadly virus that has broken out across sub-Saharan Africa in sporadic epidemics in the past. Recently, an outbreak has been confirmed in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In committee, we will address this outbreak in order to contain the outbreak and save as many lives as possible.

+ United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)

Chairs: Clare Wu, Ashwin Chetty, & Malak Khan

Topic 1: Education as a tool to prevent violent extremism

Topic 2: International Water Management, Infrastructure, and Technology

The UNESCO is the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization based in Paris, France. Its aim is to build peace through international cooperation in the fields of education, science and culture. The UNESCO hopes to aid in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals defined in agenda 2030, adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2015. At YMUN 45, the UNESCO shall be discussing education as a tool to prevent violent extremism and international water management, infrastructure and technology. Violent extremism has been a major worldwide concern in recent years, with the rise of armed terrorism and the emergence of a number of conflicts in the wake of the Arab Spring. The UNESCO has been engaged with discussing educational initiatives that may make a positive impact on the social and cultural environment in order to mitigate this. International water management has also been a chief concern of the UNESCO in recent years. The organization has been involved with the establishment of a number of research institutes across the world to participate in high standard scientific research in water management and infrastructure. The UNESCO has also developed capacity building measures and educational projects in order to equip countries to manage their water resources. Discussion and policy development in these areas is of great importance in order to fulfill the UN Sustainable Development Goals and foster international peace.

+ Commission on Population and Development (CPD)

Chairs: Yara El-Khatib & Mansoor Akbarzai

Topic 1: Assessment of distribution and treatment of Syrian refugees

Topic 2: Food security and sustainability concerns in Sub-Saharan Africa

The major goals of our committee include constructing effective strategies that integrate demographic and population trends with development strategies and goals. While population-related and developmental factors are evidently the most critical components of our committee and its resolutions, we aim for delegates to find connections beyond these two points. We urge delegates to consider other components— such as conflict, climate, stability, etc.— that will ensure that resolutions take into consideration the many intersectional factors that affect the viability of proposed strategies.

The first topic concerns food security and sustainability in sub-Saharan Africa. This region, which is currently experiencing some of the most rapid population growth rates on the planet also has some of the poorest developed and most unsustainable agricultural infrastructure in the world. New resolutions and proposals on how to aid this region’s population with agricultural and therefore societal development would help ensure greater hope for the region. Additionally, it may have the added benefit of leading population growth rates to decelerate with greater degrees of development.

Over the course of the past couple years, the occupation of Syria’s major cities by militant groups has caused a refugee crisis in the region. Several nations, both in the Middle East and Western Europe, have taken it upon themselves to accept the waves of Syrians seeking asylum and refuge from the hostile situation that has developed in the country they once called home. The goal of the second topic is to analyze and assess where the 11 million displaced Syrians have relocated— specifically aiming to assess the permanence of their relocation and discrepancies seen in the treatment of refugees based on the variance in where asylum seekers have settled.

+ Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD)

Chairs: Melissa Mendizabal & Kiddest Sinke

Topic 1: Viability of Carbon Pricing Initiatives in America

Topic 2: Viability of GMOs in Combatting Global Hunger

One of the most caustic creators of climate change is carbon emissions, primarily because they affect various aspects of the environment such as ocean acidification and global warming. Because of this, there is a large call to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, primarily carbon. One of the leading methods to achieve this is through carbon financing. Carbon financing is primarily done through cap and trade systems and carbon pricing systems. This committee will investigate the cases where these two carbon financing systems have been successful or have failed. The main objective of this committee is to determine whether carbon financing is an apt initiative in order to abate climate change in the scheme of the global economy. This committee will provide special attention to the intersection of the private sector and environmental initiatives and the feasibility of incorporating sustainability with free market systems and how to incentivize the private sector to make sustainable reform.

The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) aim to eradicate global poverty, hunger, and promote good health and wellbeing. This committee will explore how nations' governments can work with private companies and non-profit organizations to combat global hunger via genetically-modified organisms (GMOs). This committee will address whether or not GMOs are a viable solution to global hunger and will create a plausible plan of action. This committee will be expected to account for the potential human rights problems, financial barriers, environmental and health concerns, etc. surrounding their proposal. The main objective for this committee is to determine if genetically-modified organisms are a suitable solution to global hunger or if the implementation of GMOs on a global scale would cause more harm than good in the long run. Additionally, this committee will aim to see how the government can incentivize private organizations to work with the government to combat hunger in an environmentally-friendly and economically-sustainable way.

+ Commission on Science and Technology for Development (CSTD)

Chairs: Daniel Zhao & Nathan Paumier

Topic 1: Food Security and Sustainable Agriculture

Topic 2: The Challenges of Renewable Resources

With the world’s population expected to reach 9.7 billion people by 2050, achieving global food security is becoming increasingly challenging. While industrial agriculture has made great strides to make food more plentiful and globally available, it also carries significant environmental costs that include pollution, degradation of ecosystems, and greenhouse emissions. Today, crop yields are declining as a result of unpredictable climates and water supplies due to climate change. Lower biodiversity, partly due to human selection and GMOs, has also made crops more susceptible to parasites and diseases. Extreme malnutrition represents a major barrier to socioeconomic growth in developing countries, but sustainable agricultural practices are promising to nutritiously feed everyone in a way that is both environmentally responsible and economically beneficial. This committee will seek to explore how scientific and technological advancements could ensure food security by promoting and incentivizing more sustainable agricultural policies, whether it be by curbing greenhouse emissions from cattle or considering non-traditional alternatives like aquaculture or vertical farming, to end hunger while minimizing the impact of agriculture on climate change.

Renewable energy resources are being adopted at a breakneck pace, especially as global cities and nations begin to meet their contributions under the 2015 Paris Climate Change Agreement. However, significant hurdles stand in the way of ensuring that solar, wind, hydroelectric energy sources become a feasible means to powering 100% of regions' energy use. For developing nations, widespread adoption may be expensive. And for all nations, the intrinsic intermittency of renewable energy, especially with the increasing frequency of extreme weather events, often necessitates traditional sources to be kept as a backup. While better energy storage technologies are often hailed as the solution to intermittency — indeed, they are being pursued by Elon Musk — the battery technologies are not yet there. This committee will explore the challenges that remain in allowing renewables to serve as financially viable and temporally stable energy sources, and how we can craft policy to accelerate the development of cheaper, more efficient, and more stable renewable energy resources.

+ Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND)

Chairs: Jose Navas, Danny Rice, & Deena Mousa

Topic 1: National Strategies to Combat Drug Abuse

Topic 2: Violations of Counter-narcotics Agreements

The international effort to eliminate and regulate narcotic substances, informally known as the War on Drugs, has two main goals: to reduce the amount of people using dangerous drugs and to curtail drug-related violence. While this war continues to take more resources and funding from all states involved, drug use and drug-related violence rates have only increased. As the death toll rises, it is easy to say that the current approach is not working. This committee is thus designed to analyze the current approach and examine future courses of action. Specifically, this committee is focused on evaluating two broad measures. The first is the host of domestic strategies used to combat drug abuse that has centered mainly around criminal sanctions. The second is the use of economic sanctions against nations that violate counter-narcotic agreements.

Regional Bodies

Regional Bodies represent a fresh style of committee – small-to-medium sized, each with their own regional focus – that surely won’t disappoint. Featuring both traditional and non-traditional UN committees, this year’s Regional Bodies will undoubtedly keep delegates on their toes as they are confronted with some of the most pressing issues of past history and the modern day specific to particular regions. Our seven incredible Regional Bodies are distinct in their focus, select in their representation, and direct in their goal.

+ Organization of American States (OAS)

Chairs: Jack Fresquez & Amy Zhang

Topic 1: Military Interventions in Civil Protests

Topic 2: Mexican Tourism and Sustainable Development

The Organization of American states will be discussing two key topics, military interventions in civil protests and mexican tourism and sustainable fevelopment.

Despite the marked decrease in military-ruled governments in the mid-twentieth century, due in large part to the Alliance for Progress, over half of the region’s population (approximately 240 million) now live under regimes founded through militarism of various sorts. Although the extent of military intervention in government has varied from outright authoritarianism to more subtle forms of influence, the reach of military into civil protests in recent year has been pronounced. Specifically, in Nicaragua and Venezuela these interventions have often resulted in the deaths of hundreds of innocent civilians, as was the case in mid-2017 anti-government protests in Venezuela under the Maduro regime. The OAS can address these acts of military intervention by assessing possible solutions in light of past unsuccessful policies.

In 2018, the World Tourism Organization and the Organization of American States produced a joint publication called “Tourism and the Sustainable Development Goals: Good Practices in the Americas.” This publication explores tourism’s role in achieving several of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, notably Goal 8’s economic growth, Goal 12’s responsible consumption and production, and Goal 14’s conservation of life in the oceans. Requiring the cooperation of both the public and private sectors within and across national borders, tourism is a huge industry in the Americas that derives livelihoods from a people’s culture, history, and geography. We will look at Mexico as a case study and analyze its past and current tourism situations and how that intersects with sustainable development.

+ Community of Latin American and Carribean States (CELAC)

Chairs: Christian Wolpert Gaztambide & Linette Rivera

Topic 1: La Crisis en Venezuela

The Spanish speaking committee, Community of Latin American and Caribbean States will be discussing two topics, "La Crisis en Venezuela" and "Corrupción en América Latina".

Desde Mayo del 2017, el mundo ha estado siguiendo la crisis política, económica y humanitaria que acontece en la República Bolivariana de Venezuela. Sin embargo, la comunidad internacional no ha tomado acción concreta ante los atropellos del gobierno Chavista bajo el mando de Nicolás Maduro. Nos corresponde a nosotros, pues, reunidos en como comunidad lationoamericana responder a esta crisis y buscar soluciones concretas para erradicar el hambre y la pobreza que arropa a nuestro país hermano, al igual que buscar una resolución al conflicto político para salvaguardar la democracia en ese país.

+ African Union (AU)

Chairs: Morgan Hanna-Ghattas & Zoeth Chalat

Topic 1: Sub-Saharan Refugee Migration

Topic 2: Child Marriage

The African Union will be debating two topics, Sub-Saharan Refugee Migration and Child Marriage.

The African Union is presented with the problem of an estimated 16.3 million migrants and at least 18 million internally displaced persons. Migration from and within sub-Saharan Africa has been rapidly increasing over the last 20 years with social and economic repercussions for both the receiving and sending countries. Currently, Sub-Saharan Africa hosts more that 26% of the world's refugee population. There are over 2.4 million refugees that have been displaced by violent conflict in South Sudan since 2013 alone. While the international refugee crisis has been escalating, violence, economic decline, disease, and hunger have driven millions from their homes in Africa and continues to exert enormous pressure on public services and local infrastructure throughout the continent. This committee seeks to address the issue of migration in sub-Saharan Africa as well as develop a comprehensive migration policy strategy.

Over 100 million women in Africa were/are married as children. In sub-Saharan Africa almost 40% of girls are married before the age of 18. In some countries, such as Niger, more than 3/4 of women get married before they are 18. Widespread poverty and fear for safety motivates parents to marry their daughters into advantageous unions, and gender inequality and the low value placed on young girls often makes these unions culturally accepted. The population of Africa is rapidly growing, and the African Union must act quickly to protect this enormous increase of girls who will be at risk in the coming decades. If the speed of reduction is not drastically increased, Africa will soon have more child brides than any other part of the country.

+ European Commission

Chairs: Victoria Mak & Jake Fischer

Topic 1: Combatting Terrorism

Topic 2: Digital Privacy and Cybersecurity

The European Commission will debate two topics, digital privacy/cybersecurity and combatting terrorism.

Immersed in the Information Age, Europe today stands at a crossroads. While online resources and networks proliferate, so too do threats of privacy infringement. Public and private sector groups alike are constantly at risk of cyberattack. The European Commission oversee the crucial task of protecting information systems across the EU, reinforcing economic and societal structures in the process. How can emergency measures be promptly and efficiently executed in response to security threats? How can we design policies to protect individual consumers from violations of personal privacy? Delegates’ answers to cybersecurity’s looming questions will define attitudes and digital practices in a time of uncertainty.

In a 2018 poll, 82% of Europeans thought that it was “Somewhat Likely” or “Very Likely” that a terrorist attack could occur in their home country. The amount of terrorist attacks resulting in at least one fatality has sharply increased from five in 2013 and two in 2014 to 23 in 2015 and 30 in 2016. While actual deaths from terrorism may be less than other causes, the fear has had a significant impact on the EU. Terrorism and immigration have been cited in polls as the two most important issues facing member states. What measures can be implemented to prevent terrorist attacks? Does the answer lie in stronger border control, better community outreach, or other means? How can the indirect effects of terrorism (fear, racism, etc) be addressed?

+ Association of South East Asian Nations 2080 (ASEAN)

Chairs: Jessica Ainooson & Annie Cheng

Topic 1: Climate Refugee Crisis in Small Island Developing States

Topic 2: Economic and Environmental Devastation in Malaysia and Indonesia

ASEAN 2080 will be responding to two key events, a crisis in small island developing states and devastation in Malaysia and Indonesia.

In the year 2080, the region is devastated by record-high monsoons, flooding, and tsunamis.. The continuous climatic changes have interfered with the region’s economic development, as well as an associated capacity to adapt. While the heart of major islands in Indonesia and the Philippines have remained intact, the surrounding smaller islands have been completely flooded, leaving tens of thousands without homes. Ocean coastal areas ASEAN countries experience a heavy hit to fishing industries, as well as overall decrease of agricultural capacity due to heavy flooding and soil salinity. To make things worse, hundreds of thousands of climate refugees from other countries are seeking shelter in the region for reasons of proximity and economic limitations. The majority originate from small developing island states (SIDS) of the Maldives, East Timor, Nauru, Tuvalu, etc. from the Indian Ocean area. It’s been decades since the majority of the world’s Pacific islands went under the rising tides, despite desperate last-ditch efforts. In order to prevent the staggering deaths, displacement and domestic governance issues related to climate refugeeness and social unrest, ASEAN will have to work tirelessly to create measures for emergency response and long-term prevention and development. In this committee, delegates must consider the intersectional nature of socio-economic development and the responsibilities of climate change management.

Since the 1960s, countries such as Malaysia and Indonesia have begun to increase their levels of palm oil cultivation as a means to reduce dependence on rubber and tin. Afterward, Malaysia and Indonesia have continued to dominate the market, accounting for approximately a combined 80% of total palm oil production. While this had helped grow the two nations’ economies in the short term, the two have also paid a steep price in the form of environmental degradation. Palm oil is a very demanding crop that requires an astronomical amount of water and land. The continued of palm oil growth has meant that the nations have exhausted much of their natural resources and damaged much of their environment. Vast swaths of rainforests have been cut down and water resources are diminishing. Malaysia and Indonesia’s inability to sustain high levels of production, as it has in the past, has driven the two nations into economic devastation. Population density is also at an all time high with a growing population and decreasing availability of viable land and resources. During this dire time of need, the two countries call upon ASEAN to provide assistance. This committee will attempt to revive the Indonesian and Malaysian economy by providing economic plans that will shift their economies away from palm oil production to a more sustainable industry, in addition to proposing solutions on environmental restoration and equitable resource distribution.

+ Arab League

Chairs: Yasmin Alamdeen

Topic 1: Instability in Yemen

The crisis in Yemen began after a 2011 uprising against then-President Ali Abdullah Saleh, but the situation has seriously devolved at the hands of violent political factions and the growing threat from Al-Qaeda and Houthi militants. Currently, Yemen is embroiled in a civil war between Houthi militants--who captured the capital city of Sana’a in mid-2014--and Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi, Yemen’s elected president since 2012. Neighboring Saudi Arabia’s support for Hadi has further complicated the crisis, bringing them into it as aggressors. Many other Middle Eastern nations have entered the conflict with Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates publicly declaring themselves against the Houthi militants and carrying out military strikes against them. As a result of unrelenting sieges and destructive warfare, the UN has declared the situation in Yemen as the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, with about 75 percent of Yemenis, a figure surpassing 22 million, in need of humanitarian aid. In addition to this, millions are without access to safe drinking water, resulting in the world’s worst cholera outbreak in recorded history--just last year. This committee must discuss ways to mitigate the crisis and find solutions to provide aid to a civilian population that has become embroiled in a war it never sought, and also create a potential armistice between the Middle Eastern nations that have entered the conflict.

+ BRICS Development Bank

Chairs: Meiting Chen & Brandon Chambers

Topic 1: The Global Economic Recession (since 2010)

Topic 2: Strategies for Environmental and Social Sustainability

The BRICS Development Bank will discuss environmental/social sustainability and the economic recession post-2008.

The BRICS nations represent some of the largest economies in the world. Collectively, they comprise around forty percent of the world’s population, a figure forecast to rise in the coming decades. These developing economies, while being gifted with natural resources, also face the challenge of limiting the harmful effects of climate change and pollution. Renewable and sustainable energy projects are at the core of the bank’s investment plan. Managing these goals alongside the real and pressing concerns of economic growth and development is necessary for the viability of the bank and the wellbeing of coming generations.

Over the last decade, the establishment of BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) has attracted great attention world-wide. With their large population and rapid economic growth, these nations are expected to become the world’s next biggest economies, and, in the case of China, BRICS' powerhouse, as early as 2020. However, as the world economy continues to worsen after the 2008 financial crisis, many emerging-market economies, including the BRICS, have suffered from sharp economic slowdown. Delegates of this committee will attempt to find solutions that address this recent global economic recession in cooperative and innovative ways.

Specialized Agencies

Specialized Agencies at YMUN give students an opportunity to discuss topics in an engaging, imaginative, spontaneous and intellectually stimulating atmosphere. One of the main unique qualities of specialized committees is that, with an average of 20 delegates, they are much smaller than General Assemblies, ECOSOCs and Regional Bodies. This small atmosphere leads to very lively debates, which force delegates to react quickly and engage fully in the topics being discussed. YMUN XLIV’s Specialized Committees cover a wide range of topics, time periods and regions.

+ International Court of Justice (ICJ)

Chairs: David Jiang & Christopher Moeckel

The International Court of Justice is the world’s premiere forum for conflict resolution. In the ICJ, delegates depart from the typical format of Model UN and instead take up the roles of Applicants, Respondents, and Justices of the Court in response to cases brought up by its member states. During YMUN, the Court will attempt to render decisions on four cases. The Court will first examine the United States’ claim that the government of the Russian Federation illegally hacked American political institutions in order to influence the hotly contested 2016 election and ensure that Donald Trump reached the nation’s highest office. Second, the Court will assess the validity of the Indian government’s claim that the Pakistani army has engaged in illegal occupation of its territory in Kashmir. Third, the Court will address the claim that the Chinese government has allowed pollution of the environment to such an extent that it endangers people around the globe. And lastly, but certainly not least, the assertion that American intervention abroad has resulted in the Middle Eastern instability that caused the Syrian civil war. Will the justices of this innovative and fast-paced committee be up to the challenge of ensuring that these conflicts do not escalate further?

Note: This committee is capped at 16 delegates. This committee is highly challenging – if you have any questions about the committee, please feel free to contact the President of the International Court of Justice, David Jiang at david.jiang@yale.edu.

+ Brexit Negotiations

Chairs: Hanah Lee & Joshua Park

There is no better time to be discussing the European Union, particularly the ongoing Brexit negotiations—happening in real time. Leaving the European Union is an unprecedented act: leaving negotiators with no precedent to follow, but also raising the stakes for the implications of the negotiations for the question of European integration in the future. As representatives of various stakeholders within the UK and the EU, you will be tasked with a feat that not even Theresa May or Michel Barnier themselves have accomplished: passing an agreement on a post-Brexit UK-EU relationship. Our discussions will focus on two major facets of such an agreement: first, the nature of a future trade relationship, and second, the question of the Irish border. Both sides have much to both gain and lose, and time is ticking. We look forward to seeing you all in committee and hope you will bring your best diplomatic and negotiating skills to the table.

+ Mexican Senate (Spanish Speaking)

Chairs: Sonny Stephens & Jesus Contreras Magana

Topic 1: Revisión de La Nueva Versión de TCLAN

Topic 2: Combatir el narcotraficante en México

El Senado de la República es la cámara alta del Poder Legislativo federal de México. En este comité, delegados van a tomar los papeles de políticos en México, de todos los partidos con cualquiera perspectiva. Hay 128 senadores en el Senado, y por causa de eso recomendamos que escoja senadores con mucha información sobre sus posiciones. El papel del Senado es ratificar o rechazar los propuestos del Presidente de México, pasar leyes, imponer impuestos y abordar las políticas exteriores. Durante YMUN, el Senado va a revisar la nueva versión de TCLAN, el Tratado entre México, Estados Unidos y Canadá, o T-MEC. Este acuerdo comercial es el resultado de la renegociación de TCLAN después de la elección de Donald Trump. Las provisiones del acuerdo se trata de una amplia gama de sectores, incluyendo productos agrícolas, productos manufacturados, condiciones de trabajo, comercio digital, y muchos otros. El segundo tema del comité será pasar legislación a combatir el narcotraficante en México. A pesar de que El Chapo está a la espera del juicio, el tráfico de los opioides a los Estados Unidos está aumentando y la violencia en México está empeorando. Algunos factores a considerar son el papel de la policía, la legalización de drogas, el sistema de justicia penal y las oportunidades económicas para los campesinos.

+ Historical Special Committee on the Environment

Chairs: Ornella Bayigamba & Zach Gold

Topic 1: Modernized farming

Topic 2: Effective water usage

People have been calling the wave of new innovation, which radically modernized farming in the 1960s, the “Green Revolution.” The new techniques in irrigation and mechanized cultivation as well as genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and chemical pesticides gave us the ability to produce more food than the world ever has in the past. Though these international efforts continue to help feed countless people—some say it might help feed up to a billion people in the future—critics argue that the costs to the environment and to people’s health have been too high to justify the benefits without exploring alternative options moving forward. Now you have to decide: should we continue the practices of the Green Revolution? What should the UN encourage or discourage going forward? However this is not the only issue we must address as the Special Committee on the Environment. With the upcoming 1977 UN Conference on Water, which will be held in Mar del Plata, Argentina, it is more important than ever that the global community come together. During this conference, it will be instrumental that the world powers come to an agreement on the current status of effective water usage worldwide; the effects of natural hazards; adequate environment, health and pollution control measures; and how to best foster growth in education, training and research on environmental issues. Will this conference succeed in creating the necessary regional and international cooperation to prevent future disasters?

+ United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues

Chairs: Hailee Gibadlo & Gabriella Blatt

Topic 1: Missing and murdered indigenous women

Topic 2: Mental health issues in Indian communities

The UN Forum on Indigenous Issues focuses on tackling issues that Indigenous peoples face. Indigenous peoples have sought recognition of their identities, way of life and their right to traditional lands, territories and natural resources for years, yet throughout history, their rights have always been violated. Indigenous peoples today, are arguably among the most disadvantaged and vulnerable groups of people in the world. The council will tackle the issues of missing and murdered Indigenous women (MMIW) and Mental Health Issues in Indian Country.

+ Operation Condor

Chairs: Juan Otoya Vanini & Brenda Cachay

Operation Condor took place in the context of the Cold War and the open, yet restricted, rivalry that existed between the United States and the Soviet Union. As the nations of Latin America began to call for self-determination, the nationalization of resources, and a distancing from colonial powers, the United States grew threatened. In fact, it was America’s belief that, if left unattended, the countries of Latin America would succumb to the Soviet Union’s communist agenda and pose security threats. As a result, during the late 1900’s, the United States supported a series of government coups d’états in Paraguay, Brazil, Bolivia, Uruguay, Chile, and Argentina. After the socialist governments of the aforementioned nations were overthrown, right-wing dictatorships arose and were kept in place with the help of U.S. intelligence operations. The Operation Condor Council will not only discuss the United State’s role in Operation Condor, but also the human rights violations that ensued and whether they were justified by the American desire to prevent the spread of Communism.

+ Presidential Cabinet of George W. Bush

Chairs: Darnell Battle & Mei Chen

Topic 1: Domestic Response to 9/11 and Military/International Outreach

Topic 2: Hurricane Katrina

In the United States Presidential Cabinet of George W. Bush, delegates will discuss the various crises and afflictions during the Bush presidency, in large part concerning the events of September 11, 2001, and the subsequent fight against international terrorism spearheaded by the United States. The Cabinet will attempt to respond to 9/11 and subsequent events through the lens of a nation in a state of panic and in the rare position of being in need of international support despite being the strongest military power in the world. Members of the Cabinet will be expected to think rationally and with the best interests of the American people in mind while in the midst of heightened suspicions and unreliable information from external sources, and most importantly must be able to assuage the fears of the American people as well as address international tensions and the threat of future terroristic events. As the anti-terrorism fervor begins to fade, members of the Cabinet will find themselves at a constant need to provide comfort, support, and, above all, feasible resolutions as the United States battles devastating turmoil, including economic downturn and the most catastrophic natural disaster in recent history.

+ G20 Summit

Chair: Joseph Ribaudo, Thomas Schacht, & Karena Zhao

The Group of Twenty (G20) is an international forum of the leaders of some of the largest economies in the world to discuss and foster international cooperation regarding “the most important issues of the global economic and financial agenda”. The G20 places special emphasis on the financial stability of the global economy. Since 2015, the G20 has also included on its agenda issues of global significance. This year the G20 will be meeting to discuss the increased use of tariffs and their effects on global trade the stability of financial markets. Over the past few years, economic nationalism is increasingly a talk point among leaders of nations. This has led most notably to increasing tariffs between the United States and China, sparking fears of a trade war. The G20 will discuss policy measures that could ameliorate the effects of these tariffs or address their root causes. Furthermore, the G20 will discuss the Rohingya Crisis. Since 2015, large numbers of Rohingya, a Muslim minority group from Myanmar, have been fleeing oppressive conditions described as "ghettoization, sporadic massacres, and restrictions on movement". Countries in the region and around the world have been struggling with how to respond to this atrocity. However, some of these migrants are alleged to not be Rohingya, but rather economic migrants from neighboring Bangladesh. The G20 will be discussing action to be taken to change conditions in Myanmar, the handling of refugees in other countries, as well as what is to be done regarding these economic migrants.

+ Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC)

Chairs: Surbhi Bharadwaj

Topic 1: Kurdish Autonomy

Topic 2: Venezuelan Crisis

Conflict in Iraq and its neighbors has continued throughout the decades as Kurdish secessionist movements have battled for autonomy and possible independence. Yet, some territory currently occupied by Kurdish forces has vast oil fields, and the area Kurdish officials have proclaimed under their jurisdiction possesses similarly rich deposits for extraction. The question central to committee discussions will be how to most effectively approach Kurdish calls for autonomy and possible sovereignty, as well as OPEC’s choices in response. Other considerations should examine the repercussions of independence movements and secessionist forces on oil prices, negotiations, and international trade.

With the second topic, over the past decade, the Venezuelan state has struggled under the Chávez and, later, Maduro regimes, with a host of political issues, ranging from allegations of electoral fraud to concerns regarding the separation of powers. The democratic backsliding the country has witnessed has caused the Venezuelan economy to collapse, with internal consumption plummeting and the number of economic migrants skyrocketing. Oil has been essential to the Venezuelan economy, but with the inefficiencies and corruption in Venezuela’s state enterprises, as well as falls in global petroleum prices, the Venezuelan economy is needing repair. Delegates will want to consider Venezuela’s involvement in the oil markets as well as regional and international concerns surrounding the political and economic collapse of the Venezuelan state.

+ Press Corps

Chairs: Julianna Lai The press is indispensable to maintaining the integrity of global governing bodies in the eyes of the public. At YMUN XLV, Press Corps delegates will assume the role of an international news organization and cover the events of the conference through the ideological perspective and editorial stance of their assigned news agency. As international watchdogs, you will be: holding delegates accountable to their positions through interviews, fact-checking statements and by challenging them with inconsistencies and public concerns; keeping the public up-to-date with breaking news and the latest developments in committee proceedings; and serving as the chief source of intelligence on the ground. Essential to these responsibilities will be maintaining a live Twitter feed, participating in press briefings, and producing both news briefs and long-form stories and analyses for publication on the YMUN news site.

Crisis Committees

We are eager to offer 7 engaging committees, focusing on creative problem solving on both an independent and collective basis. With less than 20 delegates, crisis committees are suitable for dedicated delegates who are looking to get the most out of their committee experience.  

+ JCC: Interwar: British Parliament

Chairs: Lauren Ribordy & Justin Jin

Topic 1: German Reparations

Topic 2: The Red Menace

Our committee will cover the delicate years between 1919 and 1939, focusing especially on the latter half of the Roaring twenties and the immediate aftermath of the Great Depression. Set against the background of a world order whose very status quo belies the radical changes it has undergone, delegates will grapple with domestic tensions, economic collapse, and rising fascism. They will deal with the fallout of reparations and the League of Nations on the world stage while handling millions of demobilized, often crippled, men and millions of newly enfranchised women. Above all, they will work to create a framework for a new world order, one which will maintain their nation’s prestige and standing while ensuring that the First World War remains the War to End All Wars.

+ JCC Interwar: Weimar Republic

Chairs: Joshua Hano & Henry Loughlin

Topic 1: Renegotiating the Treaty of Versailles

Topic 2: Rise of Political Extremism

The year is 1923. Europe’s historical powerhouse is reeling from the aftermath of the Great War–a conflict many believe Germany was still fully capable of winning, had public will prevailed. The Deutsches Reich, home to the world’s finest army of the Prussian tradition, great scientific and economic development, and a burgeoning global empire, is being forced into penury by hyperinflation and brutal policies of war reparations. Political extremists, seeking to capitalize on the fears and uncertainties of the masses, claim to offer remedies to these ills and threaten the stable governance of the fledgling Weimar Republic. This committee of political, business and military leaders must collaborate to navigate challenges posed by threats, foreign and domestic, to ensure the survival of the Deutsche Republik.

+ Ad-HOC

Chairs: Riley Tillitt & Anin Luo

The Ad-Hoc committee is for the most experienced delegates on the high school circuit. This committee will give students to compete, learn from, and griw with other talented crisis delegates. As always, committee materials and hints to the topic will not be provided until just before the conference. This committee is intended for veteran delegates and is application based only. Club presidents or experienced juniors or seniors are encouraged to apply.

+ President Johnson's Advisory Committee on Civil Rights

Chairs: Nikita Raheja & Kimberly Wei

Topic 1: Civil Rights

It’s April 4th, 1968 and Martin Luther King Jr. just got assassinated in his hotel room’s balcony. Riots and public unrest are beginning throughout the country. To prevent mass hysteria, the Johnson administration is putting together a committee to address future directions for the civil rights movement and the country. Bringing together politicians, civil rights leaders, activists, and authors, this committee hopes to help determine the future of the United States in the face of mass turmoil and uncertainty.

+ United Nations Security Council

Chairs: Gregory Jany & Muriel Wang

Topic 1: South China Sea Conflict

Topic 2: Post-conflict Peacebuilding

The UN Security Council will discuss two key topics, the Israel-Palestine conflict and post=conflict peacebuilding.

The territorial disputes in the South China Sea have proven to be an incredibly crucial sovereignty and national security issue for many parties in Asia. The sea is estimated to have around 11 billion barrels of untapped oil and around 190 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. Since the 1970s, a diversity of countries have claimed islands and different areas in the sea, attempting to possess the wealth of natural resources. Claimants include China, Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Vietnam. China has begun to increasingly expand its claim over the South China Sea, arguing that foreign militaries may not conduct activities in its exclusive economic zone (EEZ). In 2016, the Hague ruled in favor of the Philippines against China regarding territorial disputes, but China refuses to accept the ruling. Recently, China has reclaimed lands in the sea by creating new islands, constructing ports, and even militarizing areas of the sea. This committee will assembly the UNSC to discuss and resolve the timely and contentious issue.

The 2011 World Development Report on Conflict and Fragility confirms that no fragile state has yet achieve a single Millenium Development Goal. The connection between peace & security and sustained development must be emphasized when examining the goals of the United Nations Security Council. It is evident now that a recent history of violent conflict is one of the most profound challenges when discussing social, political, or economic development. The UNSC is therefore tasked with supporting the stakeholders of and providing necessary resources to post-conflict nations in order to emphasize sovereignty and create long-lasting peace. This committee will both encourage a development of post-conflict peacebuilding framework and address a variety of geopolitical crises.

+ President Carter's War Room

Chairs: Chloe Heller & Conor Johnson

Topic 1: Jimmy Carter's Cabinet 1979 hostage crisis

On November 4, 1979, a demonstration organized by Iranian student unions loyal to Ayatollah Khomeini erupts outside the U.S. Embassy in Tehran. About 90 people are taken hostage, including 66 Americans. With the lives and wellbeing of the hostages in the minds of Americans and people around the world, President Jimmy Carter assembles a special committee in the wake of this blatant diplomatic affront. Tasked with responding to this complicated and nuanced crisis, the committee will engage in action with the goals of bringing the hostages home while showing the world the strength of the United States in the face of terror and uncertainty.

+ Chinese State Council

Chairs: Ben Wang & Sheau Yun Lim

Topic 1: South China Sea

The Chinese State Council will be discussing the South China Sea. In the ruins of America's "Pivot to Asia", China is ascending. The region of Southeast Asia is ripe for the picking, and China is wielding its untested instruments of foreign policy: land reclamation, infrastructure projects, cultural education, etc. This year's Chinese State Council will bring its foreign strategy to the test, and consider, more broadly, China's role in Southeast Asia.